IDRI announces new TB vaccine

The Infectious Disease Research Institute announced on October 16 that it has developed a new vaccine against tuberculosis that has proven effective against drug-resistant strains in animal trials.

IDRI’s new vaccine is meant to enhance and extend the protection provided by BCG, a childhood TB vaccine that has been in use for decades. BCG’s effects diminish over time and new drug-resistant forms of the disease are spreading, according to PR Newswire.

The new TB vaccine enhances BCG and provides protection from drug-resistant strains by using a combination molecule composed of four TB proteins with a synthetic adjuvant. The adjuvant was also developed by IDRI.

"Combining proteins in a vaccine is important because tuberculosis bacilli are variable, and no single protein will be effective against all strains." Dr. Rhea Coler, IDRI’s vice-president of preclinical biology, said, according to PR Newsire.

In addition, Coler said, human genetic diversity dictates that people will respond differently to different proteins. Therefore, a combination of proteins, like those in TB bacteria, increases a drug’s efficacy.

TB is a major global health problem, killing approximately 2 million people every year. Close to 9 million people are currently infected. Of those, half are infected with strains that are resistant to multiple drugs that were once used effectively, according to the World Health Organization.